Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Molly has blogged about the campaign to save the Street Health services and to reinstate Gaetan Heroux before. Here's a last minute appeal from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) for a demonstration at 12 noon on Wednesday May 12 for both causes.
May 12th: Defend the East Downtown Neighborhood:
Bring Back Street Health Services, Re-Instate Gaetan!
Wednesday, May 12th
12 Noon
Allan Gardens (Carleton and Sherbourne)
*FREE BBQ in the PARK!

On Wed. May 12 we will gather in Allan Gardens at 12noon for a Community BBQ and Rally. We will then march on Street Health and remind Laura Cowan, Mary McCowan, and Eleanor Lester that they are accountable to the community and that the needs and demands of this community will not be ignored. Bring back the services to Street Health and Re-instate Gaetan at his job in East Downtown Toronto!

The Downtown East-End is experiencing rapid transformation, as are many poor neighborhoods in Toronto. In this transformation, poor people and services for poor people are being displaced. It is important that we defend the need for public services and access to these services within our neighborhoods; that we confront this process of displacement. Street Health began as a project by homeless people and has been an important space in this neighborhood for over 20 years. Gaetan Heroux has been a dedicated and much loved anti-poverty activist within this neighborhood for over 20 years as well. We need to send a message loud and clear: Street Health belongs to the community and NOT to corporate consultants!

Four months ago Street and Neighbourhood Link moved the administration office of the PAID I.D. Project out of Street Health, where it had been for the last ten years, and relocated 5 miles away from the Dundas and Sherbourne neighborhood, where most of the identification clinics were located. Making people travel five miles to access the administrative office is cruel and harmful to people who don’t have the money for TTC tickets needed to get all the way out to Danforth and Victoria Park.

On December 8, a petition with over 500 names was given to Laura Cowan, Street Health’s Executive Director, and Eleanor Lester, Chair of the Street Health Board. The majority of the people who signed the petition were homeless men and women who had used the I.D. service.They demanded that the administration office be returned to Street Health and that Gaetan be reinstated at his job in the downtown core. On December 29, a dozen people walked for over three hours from Street Health to Neighbourhood Link and delivered another petition with over 850 names on it to Mary McGowan, the Executive Director of Neighbourhood Link, again demanding that the administrative office be returned to Street Health and that Gaetan’s job be reinstated in the downtown core.

Many times the community has rallied outside of Street Health to voice our concerns and our demands. Despite these numerous demonstrations, several public meetings, and two petitions signed by homeless men and women, community workers, and anti-poverty activists, the people who run Street Health and Neighbourhood Link continue ignore the demands of the community. Defend your neighborhood and services:
JOIN EAST DOWNTOWN FIGHTBACK on May 12th, 12Noon at Allan Gardens Park.
416-760-6579 eastfightback@gmail.com

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